Hallelujah, I have just completed Whole 30. Can we get a collective Amen?!
One more time for all the folks in the back!
For those who aren't familiar with Whole 30, it is a diet plan (I hate the word diet, but there you go), that you stick to for 30 days (no sugar, alcohol, dairy, beans, carbs - essentially nothing that turns into sugar in your body), and along with weight loss and re-balancing gut health, the intention behind it is it to launch you into a lifestyle change with your food habits. I did it once before at the beginning of 2017 to get rid of some extra weight, which it did and I was so grateful for it. This time around I committed to it purely to re-balance my gut health. It didn't matter if I ate a giant salad, cooked veggies and protein, or a pile of fries or ice cream, my gut was bloating to make me look 7 months pregnant after every meal. All this to say that I feel great AND because life is my greatest teacher, I learned yet again that we always have choices to follow our Wisdom and not believe our made-up thinking, even when it comes to food.
But we always have choices on what to eat and not eat, Jessie, this is not new news!
I hear you! But this is a different conversation.
As I do for most of my days as best I can, I was noticing where my thinking was when I craved certain things I couldn't indulge in, when my mind was telling me I was hungry, or when I was grumpy and I would automatically think it was because of the restrictions of Whole 30. Just noticing. And what I came to realize for myself was that every single reaction in my mind that would kick up moldy, crappy, thought turds of urges, wants and needs, was that they were just that, thought turds. When I would have the thought "Ugh, I wish I could have a glass of wine with my dinner, I'm out with friends for god's sake!" I would notice it, or sense the upset feeling it gave me if that was the more obvious alert, and think to myself, "Do you really want the glass of wine? Or would you rather stick this thing through and get the benefits" and my Wisdom was loud and clear... skip the wine and stick this thing through. Immediate peace would wash over me, no will-power was needed, and I would continue to enjoy my experience instead of feeling like I was missing out. Another thought that would come through a lot was that I craved my favorite taco platter from the local taco truck, not just for the deliciousness that it is, but for the ease. Did I really want to feel the gut pain and bloat that I experience EVERY SINGLE TIME I eat that plate? Not at all. My resolve runs incredibly deep with not wanting to feel that way anymore, plus, it definitely wasn't Whole 30 compliant. So I asked myself, what do I really want? Wisdom: I want Mexican flavor and something quick. Great! Turkey meat lettuce tacos made at home will do the trick (and they were DELISH!)
Do you see what I'm getting at here?
Most of us have a ton of thinking around food. We're forced to make decisions about it multiple times a day, in every state of mind and every mood we fluctuate in and out of. We have habits that we believe are what we need to stick to, but more than likely we made that decision on a day when we made choices about what to eat, and we felt great as a result, so therefore we decided that's what our body ALWAYS needs. We heard from a fitness guru or a health guru or a fad that we can't have this, that, or the other thing, and even if the fad passes or the guru comes out saying that they have the new found key to ultimate health, that old thought is now ingrained in us so we don't sway from it, no matter how it actually makes us feel. And let's not forget the labels! Vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, raw foodist, high fat low cal, no fat high carb... the list goes on and on.
Do you see how exhausting this is?
What keeps unfolding for me is that the more we have restrictions, habits we have to stick to, labels we have to uphold, the more thinking we have around the 'not having' or the 'not doing,' therefore creating a hell of a lot of internal pressure because we're forcing ourselves to stick to something that isn't necessarily right for us, ALL THE TIME. Think about it - let's say you have decided that you must have three meals per day at 8am, Noon and 6pm with snacks in between. At 3pm, you don't have your snack because you're overwhelmed with work. You now have thinking around the fact that you didn't have your snack, you're in a low mood on your way home because of it, therefore you grab chow mein because you deserve it (hello, low mood), and you eat the whole thing because you didn't eat your snack at 3pm anyhow. You feel like shit, bloated, feeling bad about it - but you're justified. What if you weren't even hungry at 3? What if all of that thinking just led you to this big greasy meal purely because of your thoughts that had nothing to do with hunger or what your body needed or didn't need?
Are you picking up what I'm putting down?
If our thinking is always flowing, if our state of mind and mood is ever-changing, if our bodies are constantly processing things differently due to stress, hormones, increased or decreased exercise, etc - wouldn't it make sense to go with the flow of what our Wisdom tells us our bodies need, as opposed to having any calculated, judgemental or rigid thinking around food? I've seen recently through social media that 'intuitive eating' is becoming a thing and there's already people nay-saying it - why? Because they don't understand the way their mind works and how to connect to their Wisdom. They've used it as an excuse to eat more crap because they think they're following their intuition to a more balanced experience of food, when rather, they're kicking up thoughts that lead to urges and bad habits as opposed to listening deep down to what their body really needs.
Now, am I proclaiming that if you are a vegetarian, you should stop being a vegetarian?! Absolutely not. If you have figured out that your body functions optimally when not eating meat, that's listening to your Wisdom. What I AM saying though, is that if in ten years you have a hit in your Wisdom that a meatball would do your body good, listen to it, don't judge it, just BE. Same for sweets or anything else that isn't a 'good-for-you' choice. The balance will naturally come the more we listen to what our Wisdom says we need and actually act on it (easier said then done, I understand, but totally worth it to observe). Our thinking doesn't have a hay-day when we continually make decisions out of our gut instinct (like everything I talk about!)
If your mood naturally balances itself without effort when you don't grip your thinking, if your brain's chemicals naturally balance themselves when you don't grip your thinking consistently (this is true, yet a whole other subject), if Universal Mind/Greater intelligence/Universe is always guiding you and pulling you forward for your highest good (hot tip: that's where your Wisdom comes from) - then food and eating falls within that same category of trusting what your Wisdom guides you to and you will naturally stay balanced. Does it mean you'd never have a bowl of ice cream again? Nope. No more chow mein? No again. My favorite taco plate? Nope! Again, balance is the key word here - when you aren't deciding from your intellect, your gut will lead you to the fun things, too. This also goes for food you previously decided you didn't like! (I'm looking at you vegetable haters). Who knows where your thoughts were when you tried broccoli for the first time - and when a friend forced you to eat it several years later, you already had thinking around how you knew you weren't going to like it. If thoughts are the gatekeeper to our experience, do you think you were going to fall in love with broccoli with all that distaste already floating around your head? Exactly. And lastly, should you make a food choice out of an urge or out of a reaction to your thoughts, that is OK too. Like anything else, knowing where you are on the map of being in alignment with your Wisdom/Universe versus succumbing to your thoughts is where the internal peace and health lies.
Again, knowing where you are on the map, and simply observing it, is where your peace exists.
With that, I'm stoked to be getting closer to my Wisdom for my food choices moving forward and hope it inspires you, too. It's incredible how the journey and the deepening of this understanding never ends, no matter the subject or experience.
What a gift. What freedom.
All my love and see you next week~